New business puts dream in focusPublished 11:18am Monday, January 18, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Downtown Niles saw the grand opening of yet another new business Wednesday, as Downtown Eyewear opened its doors at 211 North Second St.
The business is a longtime dream of owner John O’Brien, owner of the business and the building it resides in.
“John has been working in eye care for over 20 years,” Shawn Mazelin said Friday. Mazelin, along with Jodi Wagner, keep the store – with a newly designed interior and stocked with designer frames – running smoothly.
The three worked together previously. Mazelin said opening his own store was a dream of O’Brien’s and since the opportunity has presented itself, making that dream a reality has been road relatively smooth, paved with luck business owners can only hope for what starting something new.
“It’s been kind of exciting to watch it come together for him after all this time,” Mazelin said. “It’s really gone amazingly smooth.”
The Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting and official grand opening for the store on Wednesday, their first day open for business.
An in-house optometrist currently isn’t available at the store, but Wagner and Mazelin said clients are being referred to Dr. Eugene Benedict, OD in Buchanan. On site, clients can pick out designer frames that Wagner and Mazelin said are priced low thanks to low overhead, or have their lenses transferred. O’Brien’s specialty is in manufacturing eyeglass lenses and Mazelin said hopefully by spring, they will have all services available on the premises.
Clients who then receive their prescription can come down to Downtown Eyewear.
“John makes that happen for you,” Mazelin said. “He’s got to make sure he gets that right, so you can see at your best.”
Still, clients can now come in and shop for new frames, get free adjustments and cleanings or just ask questions.
Wagner said it’s a shared philosophy between everyone at the store to be as available to their clients and the area as possible.
“We’re available for the community,” she said.
The three longtime coworkers and friends bring to the store – years of experience. Wagner has been working in optometry for 15 years, Mazelin has worked for 18 and both have worked as technicians for other doctors.
Proximity is a big part of how the business remains available to clients. Positioned in Niles, clients don’t have to drive all the way over to South Bend for eyewear, Wagner said.
Even if it’s just an adjustment or a repair that’s needed, “just come on in,” she said.
“I’ve heard a lot of people excited because it’ll bring a lot more flow down here,” she added.
As the business continues in its first week, Mazelin and Wagner are excited to start serving new and returning clients and say they hope to show their business is about more than just selling designer frames.
“It’s not about making a sale,” Mazelin said. “It’s about taking care of the quality of your eyes.”